A Song About Myself


A Song About Myself is quite different from Walt Whitman's Song of Myself. Keats' simple rhyming scheme is playful and fresh, about himself as a "naughty boy" who runs away.
A Song About Myself
J. Severn, Young John Keats wood engraving, 1819

    There was a naughty boy,
    A naughty boy was he,
    He would not stop at home,
    He could not quiet be
    He took
    In his knapsack
    A book
    Full of vowels
    And a shirt
    With some towels,
    A slight cap
    For night cap,
    A hair brush,
    Comb ditto,
    New stockings
    For old ones
    Would split O!
    This knapsack
    Tight at's back
    He rivetted close
    And followed his nose
    To the north,
    To the north,
    And follow'd his nose
    To the north.


    There was a naughty boy
    And a naughty boy was he,
    For nothing would he do
    But scribble poetry
    He took
    An ink stand
    In his hand
    And a pen
    Big as ten
    In the other,
    And away
    In a pother
    He ran
    To the mountains
    And fountains
    And ghostes
    And postes
    And witches
    And ditches
    And wrote
    In his coat
    When the weather
    Was cool,
    Fear of gout,
    And without
    When the weather
    Was warm
    Och the charm
    When we choose
    To follow one's nose
    To the north,
    To the north,
    To follow one's nose
    To the north!


    There was a naughty boy
    And a naughty boy was he,
    He kept little fishes
    In washing tubs three
    In spite
    Of the might
    Of the maid
    Nor afraid
    Of his Granny-good
    He often would
    Hurly burly
    Get up early
    And go
    By hook or crook
    To the brook
    And bring home
    Miller's thumb,
    Not over fat,
    Minnows small
    As the stall
    Of a glove,
    Not above
    The size
    Of a nice
    Little baby's
    Little fingers
    O he made
    'Twas his trade
    Of fish a pretty kettle
    A kettle
    A kettle
    Of fish a pretty kettle
    A kettle!


    There was a naughty boy,
    And a naughty boy was he,
    He ran away to Scotland
    The people for to see
    There he found
    That the ground
    Was as hard,
    That a yard
    Was as long,
    That a song
    Was as merry,
    That a cherry
    Was as red,
    That lead
    Was as weighty,
    That fourscore
    Was as eighty,
    That a door
    Was as wooden
    As in England
    So he stood in his shoes
    And he wonder'd,
    He wonder'd,
    He stood in his
    Shoes and he wonder'd.

This poem is featured in our selection of 100 Great Poems


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